Thursday, November 19, 2009

Things I hate: Cold and Flu Season!

Since my son started school at the end of August, we have had a different bug floating through our family every week.  We just recover from one and soon another new nasty is invades us.  Lysol and hand sanitizer has become my new best friends.  Woman's Day Magazine named six of the germiest places as he first floor elevator button, ATM keys, your desktop, the playground, the cutting board (more germs than your toliet seat if you can believe that) and shopping carts.  In a recent study 80 percent of the shopping carts tested positive for E. coli! I'm going to add my own germy place to the list, fast food resturant high chairs.  I always wipe them down before sliding my little into one.  Touch a dirty high chair, touch the food, food goes into mouth...instant trip to the doc's office.

I did some research on ways to stay healthy during this virus infected season and came up with these the most: Keep your hands off your face. It's a major way for the nasties to get into your body.  Stay hydrated. Stay warm.  Dress in layers, keep socks on your feet.  Carry sanitizer with you at all times and disinfect, disinfect, DISINFECT!

I found some really cool "make your own" hand santitzer recipes on The Soap Queen's blog: .  I haven't tried them yet, but I'm going to.  If I don't, I'm going to have to get a second job to cover the cost of cleaning supplies. 

On, a brighter note, me being...well, me...I found away to tie in some fun with all this ick (for lack of a better word).

I saw the cutest little tissue cozies on Martha's the other day.  I decided to whip up a quick one to show you all.  When I say quick, I mean quick.  It took about 10 minutes, give or take.  Now mine is kind of plain, but depending on your creativity level, the possiblities are endless. 

It was real simple to do. Just cut out a 6 3/4 by 5 7/8 inch square. 

Fold up the two end so meet in the middle and sew the ends close. 

Martha sewed her's on a machine and pinked the edges.   I sewed mine by hand with a blanket stitch or you could use a whip stitch too.  I added some felt roses and leaves, but you could use buttons, sequins ( make it really jazzy), felt circles, squares, flowers, beads.  Like I said, the posiblities are endless.

Give someone a "be healthy" basket for christmas.  Fill it with tissues, some homemade hand sanitizer, lysol, clorox wipes and there you go.  One less present to worry about. And it's a gift everyone just about anyone can use, especially teachers. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Things I love: Scents of Autumn

Fall has to be the most fragrant of all the seasons. The mere mention of the word calls to mind the scents of newly squeezed apple cider, or hot apple or pumpkin pies fresh out of the oven. This time of year finds me in the kitchen more than any other room in the house...well, when I'm not hanging out with the kiddies or crafting, of course.

Today I want to share with some of my favorite things: The Scents of Fall.

I was surfing around Martha's site ( ) looking for some easy Thanksgiving recipes, as this delicious holiday is almost upon week...eeekkkk!!

I found this wonderfully easy pumpkin pie recipe that looks absolutely yummy! The best part is it's made with a press in crust. I'll be the first to tell pie crust...they are...well, let's just say it...they are horrible!! Often to dry, cracking and not very flavorful. I'm really a really bad pie maker, but pie is a part of the holiday tradition, right??

I'm usually the first one lined up at the Kroger bakery section trying to look nonchalant, as I stuff box after box of premade pies into my cart. This year I really wanted to do the make it yourself thing, but out of extremely love for my family, I wanted to make something that they would be able to keep down :)

This looks super simple and it's going to be the one I use this year. For those of you who are like me, pie making's ok...stand can admit it. I'll start...Hello, my name is Eva and I can't make a pie. I feel better already.

On to the recipe:

Easy Pumpkin Pie with Shortbread Crust

Crust Recipe
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon coarse salt

Stir together butter and sugar in a medium bowl. Stir in yolk. Add flour and salt, and stir until mixture is dry and crumbly. Press dough into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie dish. Freeze until firm, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Bake, rotating halfway through, just until crust turns golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool in dish on a wire rack. Make filling.

1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Whipped cream, for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk together pumpkin, heavy cream, sugar, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and eggs in a large bowl. Pour filling into prepared pie crust.
Place dish on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, rotating halfway through, until filling is just set and slightly puffed but still a bit wobbly, 65 to 70 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 6 hours. (Pie can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.) Serve chilled, topped with whipped cream if desired.

Easy right?

Here's another easy way to celebrate the scents of the season, potpourri. I have two different kinds for you to ponder and play with.

First, simmering potpourri. I love to throw some of this on first thing in the morning and let it slowly drift through the house though out the day. I'll share my personal recipe with you (not like it's a big secret or anything. I got it right of the net...hehehe).

Take a large pot and fill it with apple cider. Cut up one whole orange and one whole apple, thick slices of each. 2 slices of lemon, 4 cinnamon sticks, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, 1/4 cup of cloves, 3 cups of lemon verbena leaves, and 1/4 cup of allspice. I also like to drop in a few drops of fragrance oil like apple cinnamon, pumpkin pie, apple pie, etc. I will tell you, if you choice to add fragrance oil, make sure you don't ever use the pot for cooking again. Just simmer on low heat. If the cider dries up or just gets too low add more, or add water.

The next is primitive potpourri or prim fixins' as us prim lovers like to call them. Very simple to make. I get my supplies on the web, ebay to be exact. There are lots of suppliers online or maybe you are lucky enough to have them in a store close to you.

3 cups of rosehips
1 1/2 cups putka pods ( they look like little pumpkins)
1 cup of acorns ( picked them up on the ground going on walks with the kids)
mini pinecones
2 cups of mini cinnamon sticks
1 oz fragrance oi
cinnamon dough ornaments in star, heart and pumpkin shapes (optional and used mini cookie cutters to make these)

Okay, to make the dough ornaments: 1/2 cup cinnamon and 1/2 cup apple sauce (store bought, not the homemade kind. Mix together til forms dough. Roll out with a rolling pin to desired thickness. I sprinkle my rolling pin with some cinnamon. Helps with the pin sticking to the dough, like you do with flour when your making cookies. Just cut out the desired shapes with mini cutters. Allow to air dry 24 hours flipping from side to side occasionally.

To make the potpourri: combine all the ingredients. Mix well. I use a old baby wipes container. Make sure the lid is on good and shake it baby!

Once you got it like you like it, dump some in decorative bowls. I can go in just about any room of the house. I also bag some like in the picture below and stack them in a basket by the door. Come Thanksgiving Day, it makes nice little take home gifts for all who stopped by to feast.

Hope you enjoyed this walk through the scents of autumn. Have a Happy Turkey Day and Happy Crafting!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Things I Love: Craft Night

I've been trying to decide what I wanted to make my first blog entry about. Show off a craft project I'm working on? A craft tutorial? A baking tutorial? I love to craft and I love to bake, but I settled on writing about something that I love even more than those kids.

I have a four year old and a two year old. Every week or so we have Craft Night. I search the Internet far and wide for the perfect little project to delight and thrill the little ones. I raid my stack of supplies. Sometimes we have all the makings, sometimes we don't so we improvise, but in the end we always have a blast! It's such an awesome way to spend quality time with the babies while allowing them to explore their creative side. There are no rules: pink trees, blue pumpkins, purple frogs...well, you get the idea.

I love seeing their little faces light up when I dump out our supplies for each new projects. They oooohhh and aaahhh over the pretty glitter, shiny buttons and chase and tickle each other with fuzzy pipe cleaners.

My son is "the planner". He carefully plots his color schemes and sequin or glitter layouts before he puts his plan into action.

My little girl is more like me...a free spirited crafter. She dives in head first, throwing in a little bit of this and a little bit of that without any rhyme or reason and some how it all works out in the end.

The craft of the week was hand print turkeys. I remember making these in school many, many moons ago. And with turkey day fast approaching, I thought it would be the perfect craft.

So. I traced and cut out a flock of little hands. Well, my son's hand anyway. My girl had a severe case of ants in the pants and wouldn't sit still for more than one turkey trace.

If you've never done this timeless activity, I'll give you a fast rundown on the how to's.

Get some construction paper or card stock. I chose white, but you could use brown or whatever color you like...push the crafty limits. Lay your little one's hand flat (or as flat as you can get those wiggling piggies to stay) and trace with a pencil. Then cut it out and let the kiddies go wild. I just broke out the crayons, but you can use paint, glitter or even some colorful feathers. Once your little Picasso is done decorating, cut out some feet, a beak and a wattle. I didn't use a template, just free hand it. Glue or tape all your turkey parts and place, write your kiddos name on it and voila! Instant turkey. I wrote the date and child's age on the back..simply because I am a kid art rat pack and save every scribble they make.

In the end I had a lovely gaggle of colorful turkeys to hang from our mantle taking the place of the paper plate jack o' lanterns that hung there just an hour before.

Phew! I did it! My first blog entry. I hope you stop by and visit again. Thanks for reading and Happy Crafting :)